Why is My Cannabis Plant Dying?
This is a question that is asked over and over again. FaceBook is full of this question. I realize there are a lot of experts out there that are quick to tell you what you can do to ‘fix’ your plant….CalMag!! I think CalMag must fix everything!
But the truth be known, it is often hard to tell from an image what is wrong with a plant.
And, another ‘truth’ is YOU, the one growing the plant, are the one who has the best chance of ‘fixing’ your plant….you are the one who knows what you have done to it, and are the one who can heft the pot, you are the one with the plant in hand.
I think one must gain experience, and learn how to look at a plant in your care and come to a decision on what needs to be done to bring the plant back to optimum health. As you are growing your crops you should always observe, see what reaction the plants have to the stimulus you provide.
I am going to share some of the ways I do things. I have been an avid gardener since the 70’s, and love to grow all plants…not just cannabis. If you have other suggestions please share them in a comment.
So, here we go…..first off:
Always be on ‘plant time’ rather then human time.
What do I mean by that?
Simply that plants react slowly to some of the things you do to them.
For instance, a very thirsty plant will take a bit of time to show it’s satisfaction with a good watering. A plant will take even more time to show a reaction to a feeding. ‘Plant time’ is simply slower, rather than hours, it may take days to see a plant react to stimulus.
There are lots of problems that can develop while growing cannabis. Indoors your are Mother Nature!
You are the one that controls…PH, light, dark, water, soil, food, heat, cold, airflow, the plant is dependent on you for everything it needs to survive, and even thrive!
I am going to address each of these things one at a time
- Light and Dark…You control the light cycle indoors. You must decide how long to leave the lights on, and how long the dark period should be. Are you growing auto-flowering cannabis plants? Are they photo plants? Are you growing indoors or out under the sun (my favorite!) Outdoors you decide where the plant will be located, and how many hours a day it will receive sunlight (plants can even be ‘shaded’ outdoors to increase the dark period.) Cannabis is a light-loving plant, I always give them as much light as I can outdoors, and indoor.
- Soil?You choose the soil you use (if you grow in soil) and decide what is in it. Many people are all giddy about their super soil, or the way they prepare their soil. If you make a good mix when preparing your planting soil you may be able to grow the plants to maturity without any additional nutrients, although I wouldn’t bet on it. I like to get good potting soil, mix it about half/half with perlite and then feed as I water if the plant is hungry.
- Food…All living things need food. Cannabis is no exception. Do you want to grow a cannabis plant to its full potential? You must feed it. It really is as simple as that.
The food you feed can of course influence the way your plant grows. Feed too much the plant will burn, and not reach its full potential, feed too little, and the plant can be stunted, and again not develop as it could.
I am old school when it comes to fertilizers, I do not go out and spend a ton of money on the next great fertilizer blend that is offered. I tend to simply mix in a little chicken crap.
I have grown 20 ft. tall behemoths using only fertilizers I can get for free. Once I was growing out and about and needed some good fertilizer, I found a colony of nesting barn swallows, harvested the guano under each nest. I grew monster plants using nothing else.
The new ‘thing’ where people brag about growing a cannabis plant without feeding it anything only proves one thing….if the plant did reach its full potential…..that there was already enough food in the medium you grew the plant in.
All living, growing things need food….they simply do.
4.Heat and Cold….Temperature….you must control it. Cannabis likes the same kind of temperatures we do…about 70-80 degrees. They can do ok a bit outside that range, but keep them there and they will do great.
One should be aware too, that if your grow is a bit on the warm side your plants will likely need more water the usual, and conversely…if the grow space is a bit cool the plants will likely require a bit less water then usual.
Indoors, you must heat, or cool the space you grow in if need be.
Outdoors can be iffy at times if you have your plants in the ground. Then you must time your grow to finish within season. I like to grow my plants in containers, even outside, that way I can move them if need be.
I sometimes bury the pots outdoors so the soil the plants are in does not get too hot. One should be aware that if it is a 100 degree day, and the plant is in a pot….not only is the plants foliage 100 degrees, but its roots are also that hot! You are in essence baking your plant. Remember the ground is cooler, and gives your plant a break from the heat.
5. Airflow…This is an important one. Cannabis loves air circulation, I would always have a fan or two blowing around the grow room indoors. Many times I will prune all the lower fan leaves off of my plants indoors to increase the air movement under the canopy. The plants should be moving in the breeze most all the time….you will have less problems with bugs, mold, ect. if maintaining good air movement within your grow room. Outdoors, the natural breezes is all that is needed.
6.Water…All living things require water to survive, cannabis is no exception.
Just like you, if it is hot a cannabis plant needs more water, and if it is cold less water.
Everybody seems to want a set watering schedule, but that is difficult if not impossible to determine.
There are simply too many determining factors involved.
Is the plant big or small, is it hot or cold, is the plant growing vigorously of is it approaching maturity and slowing down? The proper way to water a plant is to look at the plant and be able to tell that it is thirsty.
It is not difficult, the leaves will start to wither just a little, the soil will be somewhat dry down an inch or two, the pot will be lighter then it is just after watering. I like to say the plant will not be smiling as much as it does when it is well watered.
7.PH…PH is a measure of how acidic or alkaline something is. The pH scale ranges from 1?14, a pH of 7 is considered neutral, neither acidic nor alkaline. If PH is lower than 7 it is considered acidic….both vinegar or lemon juice are acidic. If the pH is higher than 7, then a substance is considered alkaline, as is the case with soaps, bleach, and ammonia.
Cannabis loves to grow in soil that has a PH of around 6.0-7.0. PH is something you will have to control if you want to grow great plants. PH affects the plants ability to take up and utilize nutrients…..If your PH is way off your plants will suffer….no doubt!
You can , and should buy a PH tester (Amazon) and use it at least initially to assure the proper PH for optimum plant growth. Test your water, soil, and runoff water. PH is one thing you cannot just ignore.